JP4790633B2 - Water dispenser with water filter for refrigerator - Google Patents

Water dispenser with water filter for refrigerator Download PDF

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Publication number
JP4790633B2
JP4790633B2 JP2006551246A JP2006551246A JP4790633B2 JP 4790633 B2 JP4790633 B2 JP 4790633B2 JP 2006551246 A JP2006551246 A JP 2006551246A JP 2006551246 A JP2006551246 A JP 2006551246A JP 4790633 B2 JP4790633 B2 JP 4790633B2
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JP
Japan
Prior art keywords
carafe
refrigerator
water
dispenser
door
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Expired - Fee Related
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JP2006551246A
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Japanese (ja)
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JP2007518963A (en
Inventor
フリッツ,カール
メーレナーズ,ウイリアム,ジェイ.
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スリーエム イノベーティブ プロパティーズ カンパニー
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Priority to US53778104P priority Critical
Priority to US60/537,781 priority
Application filed by スリーエム イノベーティブ プロパティーズ カンパニー filed Critical スリーエム イノベーティブ プロパティーズ カンパニー
Priority to PCT/US2005/001738 priority patent/WO2005073124A2/en
Publication of JP2007518963A publication Critical patent/JP2007518963A/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D23/00General constructional features
    • F25D23/02Doors; Covers
    • F25D23/04Doors; Covers with special compartments, e.g. butter conditioners
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B67OPENING, CLOSING OR CLEANING BOTTLES, JARS OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS; LIQUID HANDLING
    • B67DDISPENSING, DELIVERING OR TRANSFERRING LIQUIDS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B67D1/00Apparatus or devices for dispensing beverages on draught
    • B67D1/08Details
    • B67D1/0857Cooling arrangements
    • B67D1/0858Cooling arrangements using compression systems
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B67OPENING, CLOSING OR CLEANING BOTTLES, JARS OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS; LIQUID HANDLING
    • B67DDISPENSING, DELIVERING OR TRANSFERRING LIQUIDS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B67D3/00Apparatus or devices for controlling flow of liquids under gravity from storage containers for dispensing purposes
    • B67D3/0009Apparatus or devices for controlling flow of liquids under gravity from storage containers for dispensing purposes provided with cooling arrangements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D23/00General constructional features
    • F25D23/12Arrangements of compartments additional to cooling compartments; Combinations of refrigerators with other equipment, e.g. stove
    • F25D23/126Water cooler
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B67OPENING, CLOSING OR CLEANING BOTTLES, JARS OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS; LIQUID HANDLING
    • B67DDISPENSING, DELIVERING OR TRANSFERRING LIQUIDS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B67D2210/00Indexing scheme relating to aspects and details of apparatus or devices for dispensing beverages on draught or for controlling flow of liquids under gravity from storage containers for dispensing purposes
    • B67D2210/00002Purifying means
    • B67D2210/00005Filters
    • B67D2210/0001Filters for liquid
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B67OPENING, CLOSING OR CLEANING BOTTLES, JARS OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS; LIQUID HANDLING
    • B67DDISPENSING, DELIVERING OR TRANSFERRING LIQUIDS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B67D2210/00Indexing scheme relating to aspects and details of apparatus or devices for dispensing beverages on draught or for controlling flow of liquids under gravity from storage containers for dispensing purposes
    • B67D2210/00028Constructional details
    • B67D2210/00047Piping
    • B67D2210/0006Manifolds
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2323/00General constructional features not provided for in other groups of this subclass
    • F25D2323/121General constructional features not provided for in other groups of this subclass the refrigerator is characterised by a water filter for the water/ice dispenser
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2331/00Details or arrangements of other cooling or freezing apparatus not provided for in other groups of this subclass
    • F25D2331/80Type of cooled receptacles
    • F25D2331/81Pitchers
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2400/00General features of, or devices for refrigerators, cold rooms, ice-boxes, or for cooling or freezing apparatus not covered by any other subclass
    • F25D2400/04Refrigerators with a horizontal mullion

Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is filed in US Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 537,781, filed Jan. 20, 2004, entitled "Water Filter and Dispenser Assembly". Priority is claimed and is a continuation-in-part of this application, which is incorporated herein by reference to the extent it does not conflict with the present disclosure.

  Water filtering devices designed for home use, such as refrigerator-based devices and undersink devices, can be used to remove contaminants from tap water. The popularity of such filtration devices has increased significantly in recent years due to increased water quality and health concerns for public water and well water supplies. For example, incorporating a water filtration device, once considered a luxury equipment, into a refrigerator is now a standard equipment in all refrigerator designs except the entry level.

  A typical residential water filtration device can generally include a distribution manifold configured to receive a prepackaged cartridge filter. The distribution manifold is typically configured to connect directly or indirectly to residential water and point of use, and can even consider drainage connections. Generally, pre-packaged cartridge filters are defined with an inlet flow channel connecting the residential water and cartridge filters, and at least one outlet flow channel connecting the cartridge filter and the point of use and / or drain. In a sealing manner with the distribution manifold.

  By associating the liquid dispensing assembly with equipment having cooling capability, the cooled liquid can be supplied to the end user. The cooling liquid can be a desirable property for the consumer. In general, the liquid distribution assembly may or may not have an associated filtration capability. Appropriate equipment can be, for example, a refrigerator with storage of consumables and a refrigerator with a freezer.

  In some presently preferred exemplary embodiments, the present disclosure relates to a liquid filtration and dispensing device formed as an integral unit or assembly configured for placement in an equipment room. The apparatus comprises a filter connector having an inlet and an outlet for attachment to a filter cartridge, an inlet, at least one outlet forming a liquid dispenser, a flow channel in fluid communication connection with the inlet and outlet, and an integrated device A manifold may be provided having a valve that controls the liquid flow therethrough. The liquid filtration and distribution device can be formed for easy installation within the equipment interior chamber, for example, along the top of the refrigerator compartment. The liquid filtration and dispensing device can optionally further comprise a carafe and a carafe attachment configured to allow the carafe to receive liquid from the dispenser. The apparatus can also include a storage tank operably connected to the flow channel.

  In some presently preferred exemplary embodiments, the present disclosure is directed to a liquid filtration and distribution device designed for placement in a refrigerator room of equipment such as a refrigerator or other equipment for supplying chilled liquid. Involved. The liquid filtration and dispensing device includes a manifold having a filter connector having an inlet and an outlet for attachment to the filter cartridge, a liquid dispenser in fluid communication with the manifold, and when the carafe is operatively disposed on the carafe attachment. A carafe attachment portion arranged so that the liquid can easily flow from the dispenser into the carafe. The carafe attachment can also be operably disposed in the refrigerator compartment or inside the refrigerator door.

  In an additional currently preferred exemplary embodiment, the present disclosure relates to a water distribution device in a refrigeration appliance in which one dispenser is operably disposed in the refrigeration chamber. A shelf in the instrument is configured to hold a carafe having a check valve coupled to the port. The shelf has a supply port designed to operably engage with a check valve to prepare for water flow from the carafe into the supply port. The supply port is connected to the second dispenser. The shelf is positioned such that a carafe operably disposed on the shelf can receive liquid from a dispenser in the refrigerator compartment.

  The improved liquid filtration and dispensing device described herein can incorporate one or more of several desirable features. The liquid distributor can have a filtration function, such as by use of a replaceable filter cartridge. In particular, the device can be designed to have a filtering and dispensing function in a device such as a refrigerator or a dedicated liquid dispensing device, as opposed to a device having a dispenser only inside the device door. Further, in the presently preferred exemplary embodiment, the apparatus can comprise a carafe and a corresponding controller for filling the carafe with liquid using a control method when appropriate. Carafe can supply a predictable amount of filtered water for distribution to the user. As presently contemplated, the carafe can be met at high or low pressure conditions, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

  In some currently preferred exemplary embodiments, the control valve and / or dispenser assembly is integral with the distribution manifold, and the integral assembly can be installed as a unit within the instrument. Thus, the manifold, filter attachment, and water dispenser unit can be installed as an integral assembly in equipment such as a refrigerator, thereby reducing unit installation time. The unitary assembly can further comprise one or more control valves, storage tanks, controllers, displays, and the like. The unitary assembly can be designed, for example, for mounting in the upper corner of the instrument. The filter may or may not be designed and arranged for a tilted design, or any similar design that is effective to facilitate filter replacement. Dispensers in equipment typically include a switch that can be operated in a manner convenient to the user to dispense water in a container, such as a glass or pitcher, for example by pressing the container against the switch.

  A one-piece assembly having all or a substantial portion of the parts of the liquid dispensing device can provide significant advantages when installed in the instrument. In particular, the one-piece assembly reduces the number of fluid connections required for incorporation into the instrument. For example, in some exemplary embodiments, only one connection to the inflow line is required, and in other exemplary embodiments, an additional connection is provided for an alternative outflow line to an ice machine, for example. Is necessary for.

  The attachment of the unitary assembly can use attachment means such as a mounting bracket between the device and the dispensing device or an engagement structure or other mounting structure to hold the dispensing device in place in the device room. . Any attachment structure now known in the art or developed in the future that is effective to accomplish this function can be used for attachment. However, it should be noted that the integrity of the assembly facilitates installation.

  A monolithic assembly is generally self-supporting in the sense that when any part of the assembly is supported, the part of the assembly holds the weight of the assembly or any part thereof. However, the integral assembly or part thereof may or may not be rigid as long as the assembly is self-supporting. An integral assembly can have, for example, a rigid frame to which the assembly components are secured. In alternative or additional exemplary embodiments, the components of the apparatus can be configured to incorporate different component parts such that the assembly of components forms an essentially unitary structure. . For example, rigid molded polymer structures are all provided to the manifold, filter connector, inlet connection, and dispenser components so that after assembly, the polymer structure is self-supporting.

  The fluid dispensing device described herein may comprise one or both of two types of fluid storage structures that supply liquids that are currently preferably cooled, such as water, at any time. The first type of water storage structure is a tank that is integral with the flow structure of the dispensing device. Suitable tank structures are coiled tube tanks, serpentine channel tanks, and open volume tanks. The storage tank can be incorporated into a unitary assembly for mounting within the instrument. Another type of fluid storage structure is a removable carafe or the like.

  The carafe may be provided with a structure that is coordinated with other structural elements of the device. For example, the carafe can be provided with a suitable structure for attaching the carafe to the dispenser. Alternatively or additionally, the carafe can be placed on a shelf that is arranged to place the carafe directly under the dispenser. In some presently preferred exemplary embodiments, the carafe is operatively disposed in the refrigerator compartment, and the carafe can be approached and removed after opening the door to the refrigerator compartment. Alternatively, the carafe can be supported in the door and is operatively arranged to receive liquid from the dispenser in the refrigeration chamber when the door is closed and removable from the door when the door is open. is there. The carafe couples the fluid in the carafe with the flow device when the carafe is operatively disposed in a position where it can be supplied to an alternative dispensing channel such as a dispenser that is operably disposed outside the door to the cold room. A valve may be provided that is operatively disposed at or near the bottom of the carafe.

  With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, one presently preferred exemplary embodiment of a water filtration and distribution device 20 is shown attached to the upper left corner of a refrigerator 22 having a top refrigeration unit 21. The water filtration and distribution device can likewise be operated in the refrigerator compartment of a refrigerator with various alternative configurations, such as a refrigerator with a lower refrigeration unit, a side-by-side refrigerator, or a refrigerator without a freezer compartment, for example. Can be attached. Alternatively, the device can instead be operatively mounted at other locations in the refrigerator compartment. Similarly, other equipment such as a dedicated water dispenser that exclusively dispenses liquid from a cold room with a door for water filtration and distribution equipment when the equipment has insufficient space for food preservation in the cold room. Can be attached to. FIG. 3 shows the water filtration and distribution device 20 with the carafe 23 removed. The removed carafe 23 is shown in FIG. Two views of the water filtration and distribution device separated from the refrigerator are shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, respectively.

  With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the water filtration and dispensing device 20 includes a manifold assembly 24 along with a cold water sump 26 and a dispenser unit 28. The water filtration and distribution device 20 is in the form of an integral assembly for mounting within the refrigerator 22. Manifold assembly 24 is operably fluidly coupled to replaceable filter element 30.

  In another currently preferred exemplary embodiment, the replaceable filter element 30 includes a preassembled sealed cartridge filter. The cartridge filter can be interchangeably and operably attached to the manifold assembly 24 in combination with replaceable filter elements 30 and engageable retaining means present on the manifold assembly 24. The interchangeable attachment of the replaceable filter element 30 to the manifold assembly 24 is, for example, but not limited to, US patent application Ser. No. 09 / 618,686 and US patent application Ser. No. 10 / 406,637. And as described and disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003 / 0019805A1, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003 / 0010698A1, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003 / 0019819A1. Can take many forms, including but not limited to assemblies and connections for slidable engagement, including, but not limited to, US Patent Application Publication 2003 / 0024860A1 specification, including the specification of the earlier application The people, have incorporated herein by reference to the extent not inconsistent with the present disclosure.

  To facilitate gripping of the filter element 30 during the initial installation of the replaceable filter element 30 and subsequent replacement of the filter element 30, the manifold assembly 24 is mounted on the replaceable filter element 30 and the manifold assembly mounting structure refrigerator. A pivot attachment may be provided that operably places the manifold assembly 24 in the refrigerator 22 so that it can be rotatably arranged. Suitable pivot manifold attachments are described in the specification, including, but not limited to, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003 / 0217959A1, which is incorporated herein by reference. Incorporated herein by reference to the extent not inconsistent.

  The replaceable filter element 30 includes, for example, powdered and granular activated carbon, ceramic filter media, powdered polymer filter media, raw manganese sand, ion exchange membranes, cross-flow filter media, polymer barrier filter media, mineral-based fibers, granules, and Any suitable water filter medium can be provided, such as powder or other suitable filter medium now known or available in the future. In some currently preferred embodiments, the replaceable filter element 30 may be, for example, but not limited to, US 2004 / 0094468A1, and “FREEZE RESISTANT WATER FILTER”. US Patent Application No. (application number not yet assigned) filed January 4, 2005, agent case number PENTA-844.2 Each of the earlier applications is incorporated herein by reference to the extent not inconsistent with the present disclosure.

  The cold water reservoir 26 can be used to supply a cold liquid, typically cold water, for distribution. However, if the carafe 23 is used, the cold water reservoir may not be desired to be installed. In general, the cold water reservoir 26 can be integral to the manifold assembly 24 and can be operatively placed in fluid communication upstream or downstream of the replaceable filter element 30. The upstream arrangement of the cold water reservoir 26 provides for the filtration of the liquid after exiting the cold water reservoir 26. While various cold sump designs are suitable, currently preferred exemplary embodiments of the cold sump 26 use, for example, but are not limited to, flow spaces that have little or no low flow rate or no flow rate. A reduced and / or small cross-sectional cold sump design can be provided that includes serpentine flow channels that feed sequentially from the first flow-in. In general, these designs increase the efficiency in heat exchange, can be easily combined with the desired equipment, reduce or eliminate water stagnation, and risk of water being contaminated with microorganisms Can be reduced. Suitable tank designs include, but are not limited to, co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 591,646, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 604,952, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application. No. 60 / 634,621, which is described in the specification, each of which is incorporated herein by reference to the extent that it does not conflict with the present disclosure.

  The dispenser 28 generally includes a dispenser port 40 and a drive switch 42 that can open an appropriate valve in the manifold assembly 24. The drive switch 42 can comprise any suitable switch known in the art and can be similar to the switch used in door mounted water dispensers. The drive switch 42 can be configured to be operable to provide an electrical signal to the control valve, or the drive switch 42 can manually drive the control valve.

  As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the water filtration and distribution device 20 may comprise at least one and possibly two or more additional ports. Two additional ports are shown at the rear of the device in FIGS. 5 and 6, namely a water intake port 44 and a secondary water supply port 46, but other arrangements can be used. The water supply port 46 can be operably fluidly coupled to an automatic water utilization assembly including, for example, but not limited to, an automatic ice maker.

  The carafe 23 can be coupled to a dispenser 28 as shown in FIGS. The carafe 23 can be supported by the carafe support 48. The carafe support 48 can be independently mounted in the refrigerator, or in an alternative arrangement, the manifold assembly 24 can be operatively provided with the carafe support 48 integrally therewith. As shown in FIG. 4, the carafe 23 can include a handle 50 and a base 52 so that it can be easily and operably attached to and removed from the water filtration and dispensing device 20. The carafe 23 may be provided with any suitable liquid storage capacity including, but not limited to, a liquid storage capacity of about 1 liter to about 3.8 liters (about 1 gallon). The carafe 23 can be configured to be operable from materials suitable for cleaning and sanitization in a dishwasher, and the carafe 23 can be cleaned regularly and sanitized to prevent contamination of stored liquids.

  As described above, it is desirable to integrate the water filtration and distribution device 20 into one assembly that is easy to install for placement inside the refrigerator 22. Integration of the dispensing device into a unitary assembly is not limited to this, but one or more elements may be formed as a unitary structure using multiple structural components within the device, or the structure may be a unitary structure. Can be done in a variety of ways, including attaching to a structure in the device with a common frame integrated as The water filtration and distribution device further operates using a method including, but not limited to, any suitable manufacturing technique for forming an integral assembly now known or later developed in the art. It can be produced as possible. Suitable manufacturing techniques include, but are not limited to, for example, suitable molding techniques, adhesive bonding techniques, thermal bonding techniques, the use of suitable fasteners, welding techniques, and future developed and found desirable. C) including other undeveloped technologies.

  The device generally has one or more control valves that may or may not be part of an integral assembly. Suitable control valves are solenoid valves, other valves known in the art, or other valves that are subsequently developed. In one embodiment, one water supply valve is associated with the dispenser. In other embodiments, an inflow valve is used so that the pressure in the filtration device is generally less than the system pressure. When multiple water lines are used, diverter type valves and / or multiple outlet valves can be used. Certain valve arrangements are further described below with respect to alternative embodiments. In general, any reasonable valve arrangement can be used including, but not limited to, those currently known in the art or developed in the future that will perform adequately the required functions.

  The unitary assembly can generally be operably mounted in the device by any suitable method now known in the art or developed in the future that satisfactorily performs the required function. For example, the unitary assembly can be bolted to the body of the instrument. In other embodiments, the monolithic assembly is attached to the instrument by mounting brackets, braces, interconnection flanges, and the like. For example, various flow ports on a unitary assembly, such as intake port 44 and secondary feed port 46, may include ports adapted for sealable interconnection and attachment to supply and distribution pipes. . In some currently preferred embodiments, these flow ports may be provided by, for example, but not limited to, JACO, US patent application Ser. No. 10 / 929,343, or US patent application publication no. A connector as described in 2003/0102671 A1, US Patent Application Publication No. 2003 / 0227169A1, US Patent Application Publication No. 2004 / 0021318A1, US Patent Application Publication No. 2004 / 0201212A1. Including, with the use of threaded connectors, snap-on connectors, mating connectors, and / or multi-element connectors, can be provided with ports adapted for removable or permanent connection to supply and distribution pipes . Previous patent applications and publications are incorporated herein by reference to the extent they do not conflict with the disclosure.

  Another presently preferred exemplary embodiment of a water filtration device 100 that accommodates an operable arrangement within the refrigerator 22 having a dispenser within the refrigerator 22 is shown in FIG. The water filtration device 100 can include a distribution manifold 102, a plurality of filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c, and a control module 108. As illustrated, the water filtration apparatus 100 includes an inlet water source 110 and a pair of filtrate water outlets 112a and 112b. In some exemplary embodiments, distribution manifold 102, filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c, and control unit 108 are physically operatively disposed outside the refrigerator compartment. A device having three filters arranged in series is shown in FIG. 7, but similarly, a different number of filters, such as 1, 2, or 4, can be employed in the water filtration device 100 as an alternative to three.

  The distribution manifold 102 can include an inlet connection portion 114 and a pair of outlet connection portions 116a and 116b. An inlet valve 118 wired to the control module 108 is disposed at the inlet connection 114. Distribution manifold 102 is further configured to sealably engage filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c at filter connections 120a, 120b, 120c. The distribution manifold 102 may include an internal flow channel 122 that couples the filter couplings 120a, 120b, 120c in series so as to be in fluid communication. The distribution manifold 102 can further comprise a manifold sensor 124 operably mounted within the internal flow channel 122 and operably electrically connected to the control unit 108. The manifold sensor 124 can comprise flow sensors including, but not limited to, ultrasonic sensors, paddle wheel flow sensors, and turbine flow sensors. Alternatively, the manifold sensor 124 can comprise a water quality sensor including, but not limited to, a conductivity or resistivity sensor, for example. The distribution manifold 102 is optionally two in front of the outlet couplings 116a, 116b that are electrically operatively connected to the control unit 108 to select a flow among two or more alternative outlet couplings. A position diverter valve 126 may be provided. Filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c include preassembled filter assemblies and corresponding filter connections for sealably engaging distribution manifold 102.

  As shown in FIG. 7, a removable pitcher or carafe 128 can be operably mounted within the support structure 130. The carafe 128 has, for example, an open top 129, a handle 132, and a supply port 134, although other operable configurations are presently contemplated. The carafe 128 can be made from a transparent or translucent polymeric material to give the user a visual indication of the amount of water. The carafe 128 can include a mark that displays the volume of water present inside the carafe 128. In some exemplary embodiments, the carafe 128 can have a filtered water capacity of about 1.9 to about 3.8 liters (about 0.5 to about 1.0 gallons). The support structure 130 can include a floor 136 and a peripheral wall 138. The floor 136 can include a distribution port 140 configured to couple with a check valve 142 that is integrally mounted within the supply port 134. The support structure 130 may further comprise a level sensor 144 and / or a proximity sensor 146 configured to couple with the carafe 128 and electrically operatively connected to the control unit 108. Level sensor 144 may be, for example, but not limited to, a mechanical float sensor, a magnetic float sensor, an optical sensor, a contactless capacitance sensor, or other suitable level sensor known in the art, or Appropriate level sensor designs can be provided, including other level sensors subsequently developed. The proximity sensor 146 includes, for example, but is not limited to, an electrical switch sensor, a microswitch sensor, a capacitance sensor, a radio frequency identification sensor, a retroreflective, diffuse proximity, an optical sensor including a facing mode, and a convergence proximity sensor, and Appropriate proximity sensor designs can be provided, including other suitable proximity sensors known in the art, or other proximity sensors subsequently developed.

  The control unit 108 may comprise a computer processor, a PLC (programmable logic controller), an electronic logic circuit, and / or a plurality of contacts on the terminal strip. In general, the inlet valve 118, the flow sensor 124, the diverter valve 126, the level sensor 144, and the proximity sensor 146 are electrically connected to the control unit 108, and the control unit 108 is in one position or several positions. Can be arranged. Based on inputs received from the flow sensor 124, the level sensor 144, the proximity sensor 146, and any other input associated with or external to the vacuum water filtration device 100, the control unit 108 controls the inlet valve 118. Control the operation of The control unit 108 may be a unique component of the reduced-pressure water filtration apparatus 100, but may be an equipment control unit that controls a plurality of apparatuses.

  When fully assembled, a length of the inlet tube 148 can connect the inlet water source 110 in fluid communication with the inlet connection 114, and a length of the outlet tube 150 a connects the filtered water outlet 112 a to the dispenser 151. A length of outlet pipe 150b can connect the filtered water outlet 112b in fluid communication with an alternative point of use, such as an automatic ice maker 153, and a length of delivery pipe 152 can operably fluidly couple dispensing port 140 to door mounted dispenser 154 or other point of use. The door-mounted dispenser 154 can include a dispenser valve 155 that can be driven by interaction with the door-mounted dispenser 154. The dispenser 155 may comprise a solenoid valve, or other suitable valve known in the art, or other valve that is subsequently developed.

  As shown in FIG. 7, one presently preferred exemplary embodiment of the water filtration device 100 comprises a low pressure device in which the flow through the filter is generally subjected to atmospheric pressure rather than system pressure. Such a low pressure configuration and design is described and disclosed in co-pending US Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 505,152 to Fritz, entitled “Reduced Pressure Water Filtration”. Which is incorporated herein by reference to the extent it does not conflict with the present disclosure. In another currently preferred embodiment, the water filtration device 100 can be configured to operate at system pressure with a control valve located upstream of the filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c. Regardless of the configuration of the device, the water filtration device 100 can include control elements equivalent to the carafe 128.

  Specific embodiments having this characteristic are further described below with respect to automatic control of the flow rate into the carafe. Suitable operable positions within the refrigerator compartment suitable for the carafe are, for example, but not limited to, supported by a fixed support as part of a manifold assembly or as shown in FIG. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, an example is included that is supported by the refrigerator door 156 and mounted along the refrigerator inner wall in the vicinity of the dispenser so as to protrude into the refrigerator compartment. With respect to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 8, 9, 10, and 11, the manifold assembly 102, filter elements 104a, 104b, 104c, and dispenser 151 are disposed in and into the water dispensing device. To facilitate installation, an integrated mounting assembly 158, schematically illustrated in FIG. 7, can be configured. The integrated mounting assembly 158 can be fabricated using fabrication methods similar to those previously described with respect to the water filtration and dispensing device 20.

  For any carafe 128, the support structure 130 is operatively disposed inside the refrigerator such that the open top 129 is positioned under the dispenser 151 when the carafe 128 is mounted within the support structure 130. And can be operably attached. Thus, the dispenser 151 can maintain a desired level of water within the carafe 128 as long as the carafe 128 remains in place. The level sensor 144 and / or the proximity sensor 146 can be used by the dispenser 151 to substantially eliminate the possibility that the overflowing carafe 128 is overfilled or physically absent from the underside of the dispenser 151. It can communicate with the control unit 108 for external indication when water must be dispensed into the carafe 128. When it is necessary to dispense liquid, the carafe 128 can be removed. In some presently preferred exemplary embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the support structure 130 is refrigerated so that the carafe 128 is physically located within the refrigerator door and protrudes into the refrigerator compartment. Can be installed inside the door.

  In some presently preferred exemplary embodiments, the dispenser 151 can be independently placed on the support structure 130, on the distribution manifold 102, or on the inner wall of the refrigerator. In some exemplary embodiments, such as when the carafe 128 is placed inside a refrigerator door, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, for example, the carafe 128 is only when the door is closed. , In a certain position to receive water from the dispenser 151 operably mounted inside the refrigerator unit. When the door is open, the carafe 128 is out of the way of the dispenser 151 and the user can get water directly from the carafe 128 from the dispenser or by removing the carafe and pouring liquid from the carafe. In any configuration, the carafe 128 can be used to distribute liquid from the carafe 128 through the supply port 134 to the door-mounted dispenser 154 as shown in FIG. 152 can be operably coupled to the tube.

  The volume of liquid stored inside the carafe 128 allows the dispenser 151 to operate at a substantially faster dispensing rate compared to a typical filtration device where the dispenser is connected directly to the filtration device. Since the liquid stored in the carafe 128 has already been filtered, there is no pressure loss caused by the filter element between the carafe 128 and the dispenser 151. At the same time, the storage capacity of the carafe 128 serves as a buffer means for use, and can be operated at a lower flow rate than when the water filtration device 100 is used without any practical problems. The storage capacity of the carafe 128 can allow flexibility in device design in that the filtration rate does not have to be tied directly to an acceptable dispensing rate. For example, in some exemplary embodiments, the storage capacity of the carafe 128 is such that the water filtration device 100 can have, for example, about 0.19 liters per minute (about 0.05 gallons) to about 7.6 per minute. Liters (about 2.0 gallons), about 0.38 liters (about 0.1 gallons) per minute to about 3.8 liters (about 1.0 gallons) per minute, or about 0.76 liters per minute It can be considered to operate at a flow rate of about 2.8 liters (about 0.75 gallons) per minute (about 0.2 gallons). In contrast to an alternative filtration device operating at 2.3 liters per minute (about 0.6 gallons) without using a carafe, in this example, the water filtration device 100 is less than an alternative device without a carafe Despite operating at a flow rate, the carafe 128 can quickly supply a higher flow of cooling liquid by the dispenser 151. For example, dispenser 151 may be, for example, 0 to about 15 liters per minute (0 to about 4.0 gallons), 0 to about 7.6 liters per minute (0 to about 2.0 gallons), or per minute The cooling liquid can be dispensed at a rate such as about 0 to 3.8 liters (about 0 to 1.0 gallons). Thereafter, the carafe 128 is filled until it reaches a specified amount over time while maintaining a low flow rate that can be processed by the water filtration device 100 while achieving performance acceptable to the user. Operating with a small amount of treatment in the filtration device can, for example, increase the contact time between the treatment liquid and the filter medium, and make the filtration device components cheaper by filtration under low pressure conditions. When operated under generally available residential system pressure conditions, for example, but not limited to this, high pressure loss filter media including cross-flow filtration membranes can be used. Bring benefits.

  While various representative embodiments of the claimed subject matter have been disclosed herein for purposes of illustration, various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the claimed subject matter. It should be understood that substitutions may be incorporated.

1 is a perspective view of a refrigerator showing an exemplary filtration and distribution unit of the present disclosure in the upper left corner of the refrigerator compartment and a removable carafe assembly installed in the refrigerator compartment. FIG. It is a fragmentary perspective view of the refrigerator of FIG. It is a fragmentary perspective view of the refrigerator of FIG. 1 from which the carafe was removed. It is a perspective view of a carafe. 2 is a perspective view of the liquid filtration and dispensing device of FIG. 1 separated from the refrigerator, with portions cut away to better show certain normally hidden features. FIG. FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of the liquid filtration and distribution device of FIG. 5. 1 is a schematic diagram of a liquid filtration and dispensing device having a carafe for receiving flow in a controlled manner. FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a refrigerator with an alternative embodiment of a liquid filtration and distribution unit attached to the upper left corner of the refrigerator compartment and a removable carafe assembly attached to the door. FIG. 9 is a top view of an embodiment of a refrigerator door for use in the refrigerator of FIG. It is a front view of the refrigerator door of FIG. FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the refrigerator door of FIG. 9 taken along line 11-11 of FIG.

Claims (1)

  1. Equipment,
    A refrigerator compartment having a refrigerator door movable from a closed position to an open position, and the refrigerator door has a first surface and a second surface, wherein the refrigerator door is closed When in position, at least a portion of the first surface is exposed to the refrigerator compartment and the second surface forms an outer surface of the device;
    A dispensing device located inside the refrigerator compartment;
    An inlet water source in fluid communication with the dispensing device;
    A water filtration device located at the inlet water source upstream of the distributor;
    A carafe support positioned to support the carafe located on the first surface of the refrigerator door inside the refrigerator compartment and in fluid communication with the distributor;
    A carafe detachably located on said carafe support;
    A door-mounted dispenser located on the second side of the refrigerator door, wherein the door-mounted dispenser is in fluid communication with the carafe through a dispensing port connected to the carafe support;
    Here, when the refrigerator door is in the closed position, the carafe is in fluid communication with the distributor, and when the refrigerator door is in the open position, the carafe is not in fluid communication with the distributor. ,machine.
JP2006551246A 2004-01-20 2005-01-20 Water dispenser with water filter for refrigerator Expired - Fee Related JP4790633B2 (en)

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US20050178273A1 (en) 2005-08-18
AU2005207860A1 (en) 2005-08-11
BRPI0506934A (en) 2007-06-12
KR20060126779A (en) 2006-12-08
US7658212B2 (en) 2010-02-09
US20090025826A1 (en) 2009-01-29
WO2005073124A2 (en) 2005-08-11
CN1922097B (en) 2012-04-25
CN1922097A (en) 2007-02-28
JP2007518963A (en) 2007-07-12
WO2005073124A3 (en) 2006-01-12

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